Since April 2009, Hong Kong has implemented its Civil Justice Reforms (CJR) which applies to almost all civil proceedings commenced in Hong Kong Courts. The use of mediation has been incorporated as a key alternative dispute resolution process for the purpose of furthering one of the underlying objectives of the CJR, that is, to facilitate the settlement of disputes. The Practice Direction 31 on Mediation which has come into force since January 2010 further establishes a structured framework and lucid procedures for the disputing parties to follow where they could discuss and make arrangement for the mediation process.
Another groundbreaking development of mediation took place when the Mediation Ordinance (Cap 620 of the Laws of Hong Kong) came into effect on 1 January 2013. This legislation sets forth the key principles and the model of mediation endorsed and practised in Hong Kong whilst it also provides a regulatory framework for the use of mediation.
The mechanism cannot be complete without sufficient mediators who are competent and available to provide professional mediation services to the disputing parties. In order to assure the disputing parties of the high standards of the mediators, the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited (HKMAAL) has been set up since August 2012. The HKMAAL is a non-statutory and industry-led accreditation body which aims at setting the standards for the accreditation of mediators and other professionals involved in the training and accrediting of mediators. It also serves to promote a culture of best practice and professionalism of mediation in Hong Kong.